The 5th Annual ‘Livin’ It Up’ Music Festival rocked Zao Island in Valparaiso on Saturday. The benefit festival raised money for the Porter County Special Olympics and helps to fund the athletes and their ability to compete in the games every year. This years festival included ten bands from around the region, a beer garden, food and fun for the whole family.
The founder of the ‘Livin’ It Up’ Music Festival is local radio DJ from WVLP, John King. King has a special needs daughter who, in years past, competed in the Special Olympics. Though King’s daughter is no longer an athlete competing in the games, his desire to raise money for other athletes hasn’t diminished.
“This is our 5th year hosting ‘Livin It Up!’ and the first year it’s being held at Zao Island,” King said. “We’ve got a lot of cars here and a pretty big crowd so it seem to be going over really well. My wife and I put this together as we were looking for a way to give back to the Special Olympics and this is what we came up with.”
“I DJ on WVLP and the show is called ‘Livin It Up’ and I play all the local bands so they donate their time for me,” said King. “Nobody's making any money, they’re donating their time and money to the Special Olympics. All the proceeds will go to Porter County Special Olympics and the nearly 600 athletes that take part in the games.”
“The organization has done well,” he continued. “We’ve already met our goal for the year so that’s been great. We’re a 501c3 organization so we have to raise all the money ourselves and events like this one are a really important part of what we try and do for these athletes. A majority of families don’t have a ton of money so this helps them out a lot.”
The Special Olympics take place throughout the year and include many sports such as track, swimming, basketball, and bowling, just to name a few.
“I can’t say enough about all the bands that have come out to donate their time and music. We appreciate it so much. Most of the musicians are from right here in the region; some are from Illinois and one guy traveled up from Indianapolis. They could be out making money somewhere today but they’re here and that means so much to me and our organization.”
Whitney Wojtzowski had her ‘Coasters By Whitney’ booth setup at the festival and was selling her handmade coasters. She also works part-time at the Porter County Animal Shelter and competes in Bowling at the Special Olympics.
“I make all of them by hand,” Whitney said. “They’re all woven and crocheted. I’ve sold about half of them so it’s been great! I make all sorts of colors. If you have a request, like a sports team colors, I can do those too. With my work it’s been tough to do sometimes but I’m going to be putting some of my proceeds towards the Special Olympics.”
To make a donation or to find out more about the Porter County Special Olympics go to: http://porcoso.org/